ST. JAMES — Owen Thomas Sweeney of St James, NC, formerly of Pelham Manor, NY, passed away on September 6, 2021, at Lower Cape Fear LifeCare. He was 89 years young.
Owen leaves behind his family consisting of his wife, Alice, his four children, and their spouses: Michael & Jeanne, William & Ellen, Karen & Douglas Cornell, Shaun & Arti. He was a proud grandfather of 10: Kristin, Jessica, Erin, Kathryn, Megan, Ryan, Eamon, William, Allison, and Dean; and doting great-grandfather of Cailyn. His life was filled with a large extended family and countless friends who all enjoyed his playful sense of humor and the mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Owen was born on December 27, 1931, at Norwegian Hospital, in Brooklyn, NY to Eugene and Elizabeth Sweeney. He grew up in New Rochelle, NY as the eldest brother to five siblings: Donal (d), Stephen (d), Brian (d), Eugene, and Elizabeth. Owen attended Holy Family Grammar School, followed by Iona Preparatory School (class of 1948). He went on to attend Providence College where he began and maintained a love of Rhode Island throughout his life, often visiting relatives and taking summer vacations on the beach.
Post-graduation from Providence in 1952, Owen was drafted into the United States Army where he attended Radio School and was stationed in Germany during the Korean War.
Upon his return to the States, Owen attended and graduated from Fordham Law School, after which he embarked on a career in banking. Starting in the Trust department of Chase Manhattan Bank, becoming a Branch Manager at the National Bank of Westchester, attending the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers, he eventually finished his career as the Vice President of Bank Relations at Merrill Lynch.
During his second year at Fordham Law School, Owen met Alice Josephine Vandernoot at a friend’s house and knew immediately he wanted to marry her. A year and half later – in 1959 – they married in front of 150 friends and family, during a bright June morning, at St. Augustine’s Church in Larchmont, NY. Alice and Owen went on to have 62 years of laughter and marriage.
Owen was also known as an avid sports fan. He enjoyed watching, playing, and coaching various sports throughout his life. He delighted in watching the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field – until they defected to Los Angeles – at which point he happily switched his affiliation to the Boston Red Sox. He loved attending the blistering cold New York Jets football games held at Shea Stadium alongside his brother-in-law and his friends.
Whether he was playing youth basketball, bowling with new members at Pelham Country Club, participating in interclub summer tennis & winter platform-tennis tournaments, or playing in various softball leagues, he always brought a competitive but fun mindset to every game. He was also the proud manager of numerous Pelham Little League Baseball teams.
In 1997, Owen, with his wife Alice, moved to the lovely beaches of North Carolina. As an early resident of St. James, NC, he was a part of the “Senior Spring Break Club” of men overseeing the construction of their new homes while their wives packed up out of state. During this time, he became an early member of the Gauntlet – enjoying Golf Scrambles, Wednesday Golf Groups, and One Dollar Beer Days. Whether it was golf, walking the beach, or riding his bike, whenever Owen met people, he would always ask two questions, “Where are you from and what college did you attend?” He, of course, had a talent for knowing almost every college mascot of the schools his new acquaintances would have attended.
In St James, whether it was Thursday night dinners at Tommy Thompsons, playing the piano at home, watching Mel Brooks movies, or listening (and singing) to Bing Crosby, you could catch Owen with a smile on his face, a dimple on his cheek, and a twinkle in his eye.
Owen, – husband, father, brother, grandpa – you will be missed.
A memorial funeral service will be held at noon at Sacred Heart Church, Southport, NC on October 8th, followed by a reception at Members Club in St. James, NC. In lieu of flowers, donations to Lower Cape Fear LifeCare would be appreciated.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.peacocknewnamwhite.com for the Sweeney family.
Peacock – Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport, North Carolina.